2013 season preview: Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

Tommygun Roar Rookie

By Tommygun, Tommygun is a Roar Rookie


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    The Bulldogs were minor premiers in 2012, and finished on the losing side in the grand final. In 2013, can they go one better this time?

    Yes. Yes they can.

    It doesn’t take a genius to work this one out. Their strength is their monster forward pack.

    Their forwards are head and shoulders above any other in the NRL. They boast five internationals (Sam Kasiano, James Graham, Tony Williams, Frank Pritchard and Greg Eastwood).

    To add to that you have Aiden Tolman, Josh Jackson and Dale Finucane, who are all future rep stars, as well as Corey Payne and of course their polarising captain Mick Ennis.

    It doesn’t stop there with the Dogs having Martin Taupau, the 2010 Junior Kiwi’s Captain and the 2012 Toyota Cup player of the year, David Klemmer. He made over 4000m with the ball last year to add to his 55 offloads and 137 tackle busts.

    Something that will scare most teams is that T-Rex is most likely going to be used on an edge for half a match with the other being completed by Frank Pritchard.

    Their coach just happens to be pretty cluey too.

    The 2012 grand final said it all. Their weakness was their halves. Trent Hodkinson was sorely missed and he must be reinstated into the starting side if they are to have a chance of going one step further in 2013.

    Josh Reynolds had a great break out season last year, making it nearly impossible to leave him out of the starting side. He kicked a great 40/20 against Manly, was constantly aggressive in defence and was often found backing up Barba, Morris and co.

    Naturally a hooker, which is also where he made his debut, I would play him off the bench coming on for Ennis. This would then give the starting 5/8 spot to Keating.

    A potential weakness could be Inu. Or he could turn out to be a strength. Not even Inu knows how he will go but he did have a great 2012. He also proved to be a more than handy goal kicker.

    With only Morris and Tony Williams likely to make Origin, the Bulldogs will have very limited changes throughout the year, giving them a great chance to maximise wins during the period.

    They will win back to back minor premierships.


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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • January 17th 2013 @ 7:34am
      eagleJack said | January 17th 2013 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      Straight off the bat I have the Bulldogs as premiership favourites. They have bolstered their already impressive pack with T-Rex and any backline with Barba and Morris in it will be dangerous.

      But there are certainly quite a few factors that could see their 2013 season derail.

      1.Barba last year single handedly won them half a dozen games. If he wasn’t on the field that would have been 6 losses and they would have missed the 8. Lose Barba for an extended period and things would get very interesting. They must keep Barba on the field. Inu at fullback would be an absolute lottery.

      2.Their lack of halves meant Des used their props as ball players. It was genius and took the competition by surprise. But coaches have now had an off-season to counter this ploy. Just like a young player who bursts onto the scene to have a bumper first year only to fade in the second, after coaches study ways to nullify them in between seasons, this could very well happen in this scenario. As Billy Slater said if they are going to use their big men as halves then they need to be treated as halves ie cut down their thinking time. This worked in the GF and others will have taken note. Des will need Hodkinson to step up and pray his horrid run with injuries is behind him.

      3. Their best forward, James Graham, is out for 12 games (prob 10 NRL matches once they take trials into account). This loss can’t be discounted. Once he is back and is up to speed half the season will be gone. Along with Barba he is the Bulldogs best and will be sorely missed. Des has his work cut out replacing him.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 17th 2013 @ 11:20am
        Tommygun said | January 17th 2013 @ 11:20am | ! Report

        I agree wholeheartedly with the barba conment… Barba magic did get them out of trouble on a few occasions for sure.

        Point two i think you are discounting hodkinson. Out of the six games he played last year the dogs won 5.

        Massive graham fan. Thought he was the best prop last year by far, kasiano stole his dally m! He will be missed early but the dogs have the depth to still put an awesome pack on the park.

        • January 17th 2013 @ 11:56am
          Will Sinclair said | January 17th 2013 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          Totally agree with you about Kasiano & Graham!

          I couldn’t understand how Kasiano was named the best prop in the NRL when he wasn’t even the best prop in his own team!

          • Roar Rookie

            January 17th 2013 @ 4:06pm
            Tommygun said | January 17th 2013 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

            I know some people that would even argue tolman is better than kasiano! Surely graham deserved a nomination at least…

    • January 17th 2013 @ 10:21am
      ds said | January 17th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I actually think their pack was better without TRex (i think their younger forwards are amongst the best in the game and TRex will only take away minutes)
      You cannot paper over a lack of halves forever
      Barbas season can be most compared with Jarrod Hayne 2009, since 2009 PAramtta have been waiting for Hayne to win them games ….
      Hasler of course may well be able to overcome all of the above, time will tell

      I think that South Sydney are a much better balanced side (spine of Inglis Sutton Reyolds and Luke with the second best pack behind Bulldogs(they have added Teo and Lima for Taylor which is a positive) and with another year of Maguire/Storm culture they should be preimership favourites.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 17th 2013 @ 11:24am
        Tommygun said | January 17th 2013 @ 11:24am | ! Report

        Not sure if souths should be the favourite for the comp… One of the favourites yes, not the favourite

    • January 17th 2013 @ 10:39am
      Will Sinclair said | January 17th 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      I think you want to get the Bulldogs early in the season when those big forwards are short of a run.

      So I think there might be some cash to be made laying them in the early rounds.

      But when they get up and running… deserved Premiership favourites. Unfortunately.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 11:36am
      Pot Stirrer said | January 17th 2013 @ 11:36am | ! Report

      Very good team but il stay with the Storm as my pick. With Cronk and Smith i think they have the edge in onfield decision making. And as it looks like bellamy is staying they have coach just as good as Hasler.

      • January 17th 2013 @ 1:45pm
        Rabby said | January 17th 2013 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

        I note that the author’s prediction is back to back minors. He could be right leaving the Storm to back to back Premierships.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 1:33pm
      Terry Kidd said | January 17th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

      I am wondering if the monster pack is going to be quite so effective in 2013 and beyond. I should explain that …. by monster I mean a Kasiano type …. very large but probably not too athletic or mobile. I count a guy like Tamou as athletic and mobile.

      My thinking is that the shoulder charge is now outlawed, and shoulders leading into tackles will probably attract penalties. Have coaches thought of this, and are tackling styles changing now? Will this lead to more athletic and mobile forwards being preferred over simple big boppers? I’m not sure but it is possible.

      Yes, the Dogs are a big chance, so are the Bunnies and the Storm …. I won’t try to predict any further than that because injuries and depth will play such a big part as they always do.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 17th 2013 @ 4:17pm
        Tommygun said | January 17th 2013 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

        If any coach is thinking about it surely it would be des!

        I think a decrease in interchange would lead to more athletic forwards more than the shoulder charge rule.

        The extreme depth of the dogs forward pack will allow them to play whichever they please… Tolman and graham could both play 80 if required… Seriously classy pack

        • Roar Guru

          January 18th 2013 @ 1:14pm
          The Barry said | January 18th 2013 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          Last year Graham and Tolman regularly played 60+ minutes each meaning that Kasiano only had to play two bursts up to 20 mins each. That’s how a guy so big was able to be effective.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 4:25pm
      Gus Paella said | January 17th 2013 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

      ds I’m with you. T-Rex is inconsistant at best and the younger forwards at the dogs will miss out short term. But Bulldog fans shouldn’t worry as he will be picked for NSW and get injured in first 15 after a loose carry on own try line.

      Hard to split Dogs, Storm, Manly and the Bunnies for top 2. The recent Storm and Manly dominance shows that a quality 1,6,7,9 can carry a no-name forward pack.

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      • Roar Rookie

        January 17th 2013 @ 4:46pm
        Tommygun said | January 17th 2013 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

        I think des will use williams more effectively than toovey did. Williams was playing big minutes and does not have the fitness to do so… With jackson getting 80 minutes in the last 8 or so games last year you imagine he has that spot locked down with trex and frank to share the other second row spot.

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